The Art of Discovery & Adventure

While poking around the new book shelves at the Library, I found a title that was as timely as it was fascinating.

Explorers’ Sketchbooks by Huw Lewis-Jones and Kari Herbert details photographic examples of the journals created by explorers throughout history.  I was intrigued by the personal nature of some of the entries — words that described discoveries the explorers themselves encountered.   Some of the familiar names that popped off the pages were Roald Amundsen, John James Audubon, Charles Darwin, Thor Heyerdahl, and so many others.

One of my personal favorites in the book was the journal of Edmund Hillary, the New Ze32784264aland explorer, who with Tenzing Norgay, became the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest. On May 29, 1953, on a page with the heading, “The Summit,” Hillary wrote that he peeped out their tent and “indulged in the sensations of gazing over the world from our lofty perch.”

I like to journal and sketch.  Throughout the years I have sporadically maintained a personal diary.  I have created scrapbooks with magazine clippings that were embellished with drawings from my own hand.  I have detailed trips in marble-covered theme books.

More recently, I have returned to journaling and sketching and have plans to chronicle future adventures.  Explorers’ Sketchbooks was a beautiful book about the art of discovery.  I look forward to following the example of my fellow explorers.


The 100 Half Project

Sometimes life is a bed of roses.  Sometimes life throws you lemons.  And sometimes life strangles you with challenges you never in your dreams would expect to encounter.  Such has been 2016.  Never a quitter and always with my eyes on the road ahead, I look forward to 2017 with newly imagined dreams and a profoundly stronger sense of self.  Carpe diem.  I am one with the force, the force is with me.  Just do the damn thing. 

What is The 100 Half Project?  With the new year on the horizon, I have set a personal goal to reach the completion of 100 lifetime half marathons by the end of 2017.  Currently my half marathon tally is at 81.  Achievable goal?  Maybe.  Insane goal?  P100half-2robably.  Personally satisfying goal? Absolutely.

The biggest challenge of The 100 Half Project will be to find the time and the 19 half marathons that will fit into my career and personal schedule.  Several of my scheduled half marathon races will be on the road.  But to save $$ and time, the bulk of the races will need to be close to home.

So what does The 100 Half Project have to do with The Petulant Reader?  Very simple.  I have written in the past that much of my training and most of my races are conducted while listening to audiobooks.  It is a practice that helped me achieve my Goodreads Challenge in 2016.  During The 100 Half Project I will  train and race while listening to audiobooks and will simultaneously share my books and my 100 half progress in this blog.

On your mark.  Get set.  Go!


Evil Tree. Bad Apple?

What is it like to be the descendants of Disney’s most nefarious villains?

Stripped of their powers and banished to the Isle of the Lost, all of the evil villains we loveisle to hate now live in complete isolation with their teenage children. Mal (daughter of Maleficent), Evie (daughter of the Evil Queen), Carlos (the son of Cruela DeVille), and Jay (son of Jafar) are on a search for the Dragon’s Eye.  It is the key to true evil and the ticket to the villains escape from the island. But when the four teens work as a team to find the Eye and win favor with their parents, they discover that being good really isn’t so bad.

Isle of the Lost is the first in the Descendants series by award-winning author Melissa de la Cruz, and the prequel to the movie on the Disney Channel.  The book is not among my list of favorite reads, but I did appreciate the creative plot twist and the references to characters from a variety of Disney films (Gaston has twin sons named Gaston Jr. and Gaston III).

Watch for the second title in the Descendants series, Return to the Isle of the Lost, in May.

Julie and Julia

Don’t you just love cookbooks? Reading one creates an unabashed opportunity to savor all of the glossy photos of delicious dishes without absorbing all the calories.  At least that’s the strategy I will stick with.  Or you can follow Julie Powell’s example and cook every recipe in your favojuliarite cookbook.

Julie and Julia is the story of Julie Powell, who challenged herself to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days.  The book follows her year-long culinary adventure tackling lobster, aspic, pate, duck, beef bourguignon, and many other tasty treats.

I have watched the movie adaptation of Julie and Julia at least 25 times.  Unlike the book, the film offers more insight into Julia Child’s life in Paris with her husband, Paul Child.  I very much enjoyed the symmetry of the character story line.  And Meryl Streep as Julia?  It was simply, “Bon appetit!”



The Martian

In 1969, at the cusp of man’s race to land on the moon, I read Marooned by Martin Caidin.  It was a science fiction thriller about a manned spacecraft stranded in Earth orbit, which at the time was a bit too realistic for anyone’s comfort. Flash forward to 2011 when author Andy Weir self-publishes The Martian, the story of an American astronaut stranded on Mars in the year 2035. Both books are science fiction, both involve NASA scrambling to organize a viable rescue plan during a space mission, and both novels have movie adaptations.

But while both novels were dramatic in their delivery, The Martian adds a modicum of humor to the story line to offset the fundamentally dangerous situation faced by the characters.  While still a thriller, main character and astronaut Mark Watney is martianunflappable, as well as a wizard with a roll of duct tape (“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped”).

In hindsight, I did enjoy reading both Marooned and The Martian, but the former is now a technologically dated novel (been there—done that).  In fact, I found the technical details in the Weir novel to have enough detail to bring a smile to the face of the most hardcore science fiction fan.  And I won’t reveal the outcome of The Martian.  But I will say that it is satisfyingly gripping.


Making a Difference


When people ask why I chose librarianship as a career, I always say it was because I wanted to make a difference. And here are some ways librarians make that happen…

For many patrons of the library, I am the only person they’ve spoken to all day.

Libraries are the gateway to 21st Century Skills and help to bridge the digital divide.

They like to be creative and think big—really big.

They provide the tools to end illiteracy.

Librarians help those in need to transform and improve their lives.

They like to share their services in improbable places.

Libraries are a mark of what we, as a country, stand for.

Librarians help start children on the path to success by encouraging family reading engagement.

They are leaders in technology, creativity, and innovation.

Because libraries and librarians make a difference in the lives of people.

Hot Release Alert!

This week, I heard about two amazing book releases that were immediately added to my SW_Bloodline_cover“want to read” list on Goodreads.

For Star Wars fans, a canon novel about Princess Leia Organa is due for release on May 3, 2016.  New Republic: Bloodline takes place six years before The Force Awakens and describes Leia’s struggle against the First Order.  It also will delve into Ben’s childhood, and how he was seduced by the Dark Side to rise as Kyharrylo Ren. I’m intrigued, are you?

It’s a bit confusing at this point, but a new Harry Potter book will be released on July 31, 2016.  J.K. Rowling was quick to clarify that the book is not a prequel, it is not a novel, but a script in book format.  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a two-part play that will open in London this summer and tells the story of the adult Harry Potter after the Great Battle of Hogwarts. We have another best seller on the way!